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Soccer kicks bone

Playing soccer is a terrific activity for all kids, but it’s especially beneficial for preteen and teenage girls as they begin their crucial years for building bone density. Researchers from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center–Shreveport evaluated the bone density of 10- to 17-year-old girls who were either swimmers, soccer players or weight-lifters and compared them to the norm for a 25-year-old woman. Soccer players had the greatest bone density (significantly better than the norm) followed by weight lifters (equal to the norm) and swimmers (lower than the norm). Any weight-bearing activity helps build bone density, but because playing soccer involves repetitive running and jumping, it builds bone better. Swimming is great exercise, so don’t discourage your daughter from the pool—just help her include weight-bearing activities, too.